I had been looking everywhere for a decent recipe for bread that could be made without a bread machine. I searched the internet, watched untold cooking programs and read copious amounts of magazine articles. Many of the recipes produced a lovely tasting bread but they were either too crusty or the bread laid heavy in your stomach. So, after trying various recipes I found the perfect bread dough, an Amish recipe. I have played around with the ingredients to get the taste I like. When I first made it, it was far too sweet and although it tasted good toasted, it didn't work for me as bread. I also added a mixture of white flour and wholemeal flour with the addition of some grains to make me feel like it was healthier!!! This bread has a nice soft texture with a light crust.
I have three reliable bread doughs in my recipe folder, pizza dough, Amish dough and sweet dough. The pizza dough can easily be made into foccacia with the addition of more water, the Amish dough can be made into a variety of savory breads and the sweet dough (which is used for my cinnamon rolls) can be made into a fruit loaf with the addition of dried fruit and orange peal. As long as you stick to the basics you can pretty much add anything to the dough.
This bread recipe is my adapted version.
2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
3 Tbs white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour (half of white bread flour & half wholemeal)
1/4 cup mixed cereal grain
Using a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water. After the sugar is dissolved, stir in the yeast, and allow the mixture to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam. Into the yeast mixture, add the salt and the oil. Gradually mix in the flour, only one cup at a time and the grains. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and place in a well oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and allow to rise until doubled in bulk. This usually takes about one hour. After the dough has finished rising, knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. If you have a scale, weigh out the pieces to ensure even baking. Shape each piece of dough into loaf shape, and place into two well oiled 9 by 5 inch loaf pans. Allow the dough to rise for thirty minutes to an hour, or until dough has risen about one inch above the pans. Bake the loaves at 350 degrees for about thirty minutes, until golden brown on top. Allow to cool and turn out of pans. Keep in a sealed plastic bag to keep fresh, thats if you don't eat it all!!!